From Publishers Weekly
This 10th novel in the series featuring ex-CIA spook turned marine biologist Doc Ford (Twelve Mile Limit, etc.), finds Doc wallowing deep in his own doldrums. Out of shape, overweight, depressed and drinking heavily to escape from his turbulent past, Doc gets a surprise visit from Sally Minster, a former lover, whose real estate developer hubby, Geoff, is reported to have been drowned in a boating accident off Bimini six months ago. Soon to inherit his estate, Sally is being followed by an insurance investigator who may have evidence her husband is still alive. Accompanied by his hippie Zen master pal, Sighurdhr Tomlinson, Doc follows the insurance investigator deep into the Everglades, where Geoff turns out to have been in cahoots with a phony guru, Bhagwan Shiva, founder of the International Church of Ashram Meditation Inc. Geoff helped him build one of his new "theme" ashrams to attract rich South Floridians and jet setters, destroying precious Everglades forest in the process. The Bhagwan and his henchman, Izzy Kline, a Mossad-trained former Israeli soldier, are plotting to engineer a series of explosions, enacting the mythic Seminole Chief Tecumseh's earthquake prophecy of 1811. Free-love religious cults, ecological destruction, murder and kidnapping propel Doc and his band of quirky Florida Gulf Coast beach denizens on a dizzying airboat race across the Everglades, where Doc battles his own demons when he's not battling a real live bull shark. The busy plot gets a bit ragged in places, but while it's not White's career best, this satisfying, madcap fare could well go seismic on the regional bestseller lists.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Much of the tension in today's best tough-guy detective series comes from the hero's fear of his own toughness. From Spenser in Boston to Robicheaux in New Orleans to Doc Ford on Sanibel Island, these introspective sleuths brood about their propensity for violence. Ford, White's former special-ops agent turned mild-mannered marine biologist, tends to brood more than his peers, perhaps because the disconnect between his twin personalities is greatest. In this superlative tenth episode in the acclaimed series, that disconnect has turned Ford against himself, despairing over the number of friends who have been sucked into his violent world and died as a result of it. Then a woman from his past turns up with a problem: her husband has disappeared after becoming involved with a Bhagwan-like cult in the Everglades. Ford, with hippie cohort Tomlinson in tow, heads to the Glades to investigate but not before a one-on-one encounter with a shark prompts an epiphany about his predatory nature. Along the way, Ford has the opportunity to dispense a wealth of fascinating information on swampland ecology and Seminole history. These forays are one of the things that makes this series so consistently satisfying, but this time the real core of the book is the process by which Ford deals with his inner demons. Too often in the mystery genre, this "I'm nice; no, I'm tough" dichotomy descends to cliche, but in White's hands, it leads to genuine insight. The human brain, he tells us, has a tiny region, the amygdala
, or "lizard brain," whose sole purpose is survival. When Ford finally quits waffling and lets his lizard brain out of jail, the result is pulsating action and a kind of atavistic catharsis. Righteous indignation never felt better. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved